I strongly support Article 5, the constitutional amendment to encode Roe v Wade into Vermont’s Constitution.
Fortunately, Vermont has one of the cleanest electrical grids in the nation. That's the good news. Our next challenge is our two biggest carbon sources: transportation and home heating.
I've lived in places (New York, Washington, Chicago) with clean, convenient, electrically-powered public transit. Vermont, however, is a rural state. We don't have the density to support rail-based public transit. Although I do support routing the Ethan Allen Amtrak through Essex to get to Montreal.
What we need are affordable electric vehicles – including pickup trucks – on the Vermont road. The challenge is most Vermonters do not drive new cars at any price. So we need Vermonters to buy those newly built Teslas, Leaf's, ID.4's and F-150 Lightings, register them in Vermont, and for them to start depreciating. If the federal government phases out subsidies, Vermont needs to step up.
Along with the cars themselves, we need to continue building charging infrastructure. We've done a great job on this so far, from before the pandemic. And we extended it with Covid funding. A good next step is to help renters as well as homeowners. Many renters have no option to buy an electric vehicle because they can't install a charger in a garage they don't own.
Over 40% of Vermont homes are aging, and therefore predate efficient building practices. We should use the Cares and Build Back Better Act funds to expand weatherization programs run by Efficiency Vermont. (Also, EV should be expanded to heating, and not just electrical efficiency.)
In order for Vermont and Essex to extend its leadership in advanced manufacturing, GlobalFoundries needs to make the local plant as competitive as possible. I have spoken to leaders at Global as a member of the Essex Economic Development Commission. If they can get their electric rates just a little bit cheaper, making chips in Essex would be cheaper than in Malta. I support Global's efforts to find a way to meet their electrical needs, so we can keep those jobs and skilled workers in Essex.
That said, I don't support giving Global an end-run around the Global Warming Solutions Act. Any exemption they are granted should have the same, and binding, climate targets.
My grandparents, sisters, and birthmother are or were teachers. We have asked so much of our teachers and school staff: especially during the pandemic. Thank you!
I got a great start at Essex / Westford public schools. I'm a proud graduate of Hiawatha, ADL, and Essex High School.
I advise caution in tweaking the education funding formula. Vermont's education funding system provides an equitable funding source, no matter the property values in your zip code. We should ask those with more to chip in more….and we do. About 25% of school taxes are paid by owners of second homes. And for primary residences, Vermont's property taxes are already progressively taxed. The homestead exemption phases out as you make more money.
I strongly support the Essex / Westford Equity Policy that passed 8-1 this spring. We need to make our students of color and other marginalized communities to feel safer in our community, and this is a step in the right direction.
I helped organize the community to push back on the national, manufactured, outrage against our equity policy. Of course equity was the right thing to do. Essex and Westford standing up and showing that equity is overwhelmingly the will of the community made me a proud alumnus of those schools.
I've seen this playbook before, in Texas. Infiltrate & win local races with manufactured outrage. Work your way up from there; both on issues, and creating a bench for future elections. Today, the goal is clear: the next fight will be about school vouchers. We need to prevent, on the state level, using your tax dollars to send money to private schools. Especially those schools who discriminate.
I saw this coming a mile away (see my Change.org petition), and I will fight to keep Vermont's public schools strong.
As a start, improve from the 48th-highest funder of state colleges, per capita.
A Vermont That Works for All
Continue to invest in childcare. Without high-quality, affordable childcare, families can't work. We have to make it a priority.
Vermonters shouldn't lose their jobs when they have to take care of a newborn, newly-adopted child, or a sick family member. This is an equity issue. And a fairness issue. And a “what kind of society do I want to live in” issue.
The United States is just about the only Western Democracy to not provide Paid Family Leave. If we became the 10th state to implement PFL, wouldn’t that be just another reason for young families to choose Vermont?
I am retired, and before that I was self-employed. I know exactly how much I was paying for healthcare, and how much it's going up every year.
I support a federal “Medicare for All” program. Everyone learned during this pandemic that tying insurance to your job can have catastrophic consequences. And keeps folks (often women) trapped in bad jobs just for the health insurance. We need to do better.
The Federal Build Back Better Act has nice restrictions on outrageous drug pricing, especially insulin. And I support repealing the federal ban on Medicaid and Medicare negotiating for drug prices. At the state level, a quick way to slow prescription drug inflation is to allow Vermonters to import drugs from Canada.
There's a housing crisis in Vermont, and especially in Chittenden County. There are too many people chasing too few housing options. We need to build more housing.
And we need to do so in smart ways: walkable neighborhoods. Density in village centers to grow the viability of public transit. Buildings built to modern, climate-friendly heating and electrical standards.
Another way to get there is to upgrade, make safer, and weatherize our older housing stock. Efficiency Vermont should extend its mandate from just electricity to heating as well.
Let's face it, we need more people. I was pleasantly surprised that Vermont grew slightly at the 2020 Census. Despite this, it remains true that our population is flat, and aging. If we have the same or less people paying for the same things, it gets more expensive for all of us.
Also: more diverse people. Anyone who chooses Vermont, and chooses Essex, is a friend of mine.
There are some policies that can make Vermont a more welcoming one.
Learn from the Vermont State Police and University of Vermont's minority recruiting policies. Implement what they've learned in programs like Stay to Stay.
Vermont has some of the best voting rights laws in the country: Same day registration. Automatic registration. Mail-out ballots. Incarcerated Vermonters may vote.
We shouldn’t be content to stop here. :
Everyone is tired of the pandemic. I am, too.
My top concern at this stage of the pandemic is that we've stopped measuring anything. We should put some ARPA funds towards contract tracing and measuring the results of those home tests. I know more people — including those I've met knocking on doors — who are sick with Covid-19 now (May 2022) than I did at the height of the pandemic.
The hardest-hit part of our community, as often is the case, is our schools. We need to give them the tools they need to teach safely, and effectively.
The childhood vaccines are a good start. But given Delta, Omicron, BA.1 and whatever they name the next variant, we're going to need to strategically add back some data-driven mitigation measures such as better contact tracing, and improved ventilation in aging our school and public buildings.
Let’s leverage the decades of high-tech experience in this state, diversify our economic offerings and make Vermont the best place to live, learn and work!
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